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Everywoman
Asya's story
Everywoman tells the story of one Bedouin woman and her struggle to survive.
Last Modified: 14 Jun 2008 10:16 GMT

Asya is a 28-year-old Bedouin woman who lives with
her eight children in Rahat, Israel
This week on Everywoman, we devote the programme to the story of Asya Abu-Amar, a Bedouin woman living in Israel

Bedouins, Arabic for 'desert-dweller', are found throughout most of the desert belt from the Saharan Atlantic coast through the Sinai, Negev and into Arabia.

They are traditionally a nomadic people. 
  
Asya, a 28-year-old Bedouin woman, lives with her eight children in the Bedouin city of Rahat, inside Israel. 

Her arranged marriage at the age of 14 to a man she had never met before ended in divorce six years ago. He was a drug-addict and a wife-beater.

After she was seriously injured he was jailed for four years for attempted murder.

Asya and her children then moved out of the family home and were, until recently, surviving nearby in a tin bungalow.

During the period of filming, the local council demolished their home because it had no planning permission. She then had no choice but to up and move into a former chicken shack at the bottom of her parents' yard. 

Her ex-husband, who was released from prison late last year, often comes to the house to take the children out, even though they are afraid of him. 

There is often strife and we see this in the film as her mother is beaten to the ground and her ex-husband flees the scene. 

His visitation rights are upheld by traditional Bedouin law. Indeed, under normal circumstances, he has the right to keep all of the children.

Asya, like many other Bedouin women, is caught between traditions and surviving in the modern world surrounded by an unsympathetic community and a confused family.

To talk about the issues raised in the film, Shiulie is joined from Bersheeba by Sarab Abu Rabiya-Queder, a researcher on Bedouin issues and the author of Excluded and Loved: life stories of pioneer Bedouin women in higher education.

This episode of Everywoman airs from Friday, June 20, 2008


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Al Jazeera
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